A SENIOR Plaid Cymru AM today spelled out her party’s continuing support for an independent Wales.
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones kicked off Plaid’s annual conference by pledging to uphold the goal of making Wales an EU member state.
She told delegates in Aberystwyth that the nationalists would not water down their commitment to independence under the coalition with Labour.
Sharing power might mean the party had to make compromises, but it would not compromise on its long-term ambitions, she said.
After years of keeping the issue off the agenda, Plaid bosses are now preparing a campaign to talk up the idea of an independent Wales.
The coalition Assembly Government has set up a convention to examine the possibility of winning a referendum on Scottish-style law-making powers by 2011.
Ms Jones told reporters that Wales would only go it alone after a referendum.
“It will be the people of Wales who will decide when and if Wales becomes a full member state of the European Union,” she said.
“I’m not going to put any money on when that referendum would be.
“It can’t be forced down the throats of the people of Wales. Neither can it be denied that the people of Wales have a right to vote and express a view on Welsh independence if and when that happens.”
She described her party as “two-jobs Plaid Cymru”, saying: “We are profoundly different from the UK parties in that we care about the here and now for Wales and we also have a long-term aspiration for our nation.”
In her speech to delegates, she said only Plaid could stand up for the interests of Wales, unlike the three “London-based parties” of Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.
She said the nationalists were no longer a single-issue protest movement and had matured into a modern party that was setting a new agenda in Welsh politics.
“People now see us as responsible enough to trust with running their education, social services and transport services.”